College Advice Blog

May 28, 2012

4 Smart Ways College Students Should Spend their Summer

Finals may be over, but that doesn't mean you should be total bum and just veg out this summer.  While you don't need to worry about textbooks or exams for a solid two months of school-less bliss, you should definitely be proactive and use this time to play catch up, boost your resume, and earn some skills that you will make a more well-rounded, three dimensional person—all of these traits will help you succeed in school and expand your employment opportunities.  That said, below are a few smart ways you should spend your summer vacation.
Take a Summer Course
One of the most advantageous things a student can do, especially if he or she is a freshman or sophomore, is to take a summer course. Taking just a single course during the summer can ensure that you get ahead (and thus graduate faster and spend less money) or at the very least stay on track. This is best recommended for freshmen and sophomore students only because most early year students  like to return home for the summer and only lower-level community college classes with transfer over, like Introduction to Spanish or remedial math.  Taking only one course means that you still have an entire month to enjoy your freedom but you actually will contribute to your college education.  Plus, community college courses are cheaper (and sometimes easier too).
Get a Summer Internship
Another great way to spend your summer is to earn a summer internship. It might be a little too late to acquire a paid internship right now since most of the deadlines have passed, but you can definitely blindly call a few companies and corporations in your area to see if anyone in your field is interested in taking on an intern. Of course, you need to be prepared and have your speech already prepared stating why you want to work at that particular place and what you want to gain from the experience.  If you agree to work strictly for the experience (no pay) then you'll most likely increase your chances. Not only will interning improve your resume and help get you better internships in the future, but it will also give you some real world experience that will come in handy once you graduate. Your intern advisor may even decide to hire you on staff permanently if you're that good. 
Spending some time and giving back to your community throughout the summer is also another effective way to spend your free time. Not only can you strengthen your leadership skills and have a few more distinguished points to add to your resume, but volunteering opens an entirely new window of networking opportunities. The people you meet may just be able to land you a job in the future or at the very least provide great sources of letter of recommendations for graduate school, scholarships, and employment.
Get a Summer Job
Of course, getting a summer job is always recommended. It will help steer you away from boredom and help keep cash in your pocket. The money you earn can be used to buy school supplies, textbooks, and clothes for the following semester or it can be used to pay for a new car, lap top, or your student loans. Summer jobs help teach you about financial responsibility and can introduce you to some really great people.
You've definitely earned your summer, but that doesn’t mean that you should spend every day just loafing around. Find a few things to do that are actually meaningful and will help you advance in your collegiate and professional career. 
About the Author 
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


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